The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Department of Music hosted the Wisconsin School Music Association State Solo and Ensemble festival on Saturday, May 2, featuring the largest collection of musical talent on campus for the year.
At the festival, high school students from across the state performed in front of judges, who rated them on a scale of 1-5. This event gives faculty a chance to connect with potential incoming freshmen.
“It’s good for us to reconnect to students that we’ve already accepted, so they see that we’re already supporting them,” said Matthew Markham, associate voice professor. “In addition to supporting students already accepted to UWSP, the music faculty also help foster growth in students that may be unsure.”
Select freshman music students also have the added incentive of a four-year scholarship, one of which was received by freshman music education major Gina Sayler.
“When I was deciding which school I should go to, one of the reasons I came here was because I felt a lot more connected to the staff here. I felt like I was a person rather than just a student,” Sayler said.
Sayler said the event also helps high school students rate their performances to see if they have the requisite talent to pursue music education at the college level.
“If you’re continually going to state that’s definitely showing you have potential in music,” Sayler said.
Markham said the event has helped recruit students.
“UWSP has the benefit of having a strong music department,” Markham said. “Our music department is thriving.”
Markham also credited recruiting as the primary reason for the size of the department.
“We have more students than we can take, which is good because it makes us have to be more selective,” Markham said.
The program’s selectivity in accepting students allows the department to increase expectations for their students, but Sayler said the faculty is still encouraging.
“One of the things I like about Stevens Point is they’re trying to support you as well as push you,” Sayler said.
Markham hopes to maintain UWSP’s strong music program.
“I think we’re one of the top schools in the state, and we’re confident that we’ll remain strong,” Markham said.